Wednesday, February 2, 2011

snowed in

today I was supposed to begin a long term sub position in a kindergarten classroom and rush from there to get to my middle school teaching job across town. instead, I spent the day sleeping in, shoveling snow in an attempt to get my car out of the driveway, cooking pumpkin curry (and eating of course), and preparing for my first day tomorrow. I printed out the lesson plans, packed my lunch and my bags, and hopped in the shower extra early to get a good night's sleep..... until finding out that school is canceled again! a nice surprise, I will admit, but the anticipation of the day and the eagerness to get started is beginning to weigh on me. seventh and eighth graders are so unique and fascinating, but I'm really excited to get back to the little ones, innocent and blossoming, once again.

the past month has been multifaceted: one on hand, chilly and dark and scary; on the other hand, full of presence and light and possibility. a difficult balance, no doubt, but I'm okay with living in that tension for now.
-bursting with new and finding comfort in old
-celebrating now and recognizing the temporary
-delighting and grieving
-contentment and yearning
-cold temps and hot yoga :)

happy february, folks! enjoy the beauty and fragility of every moment, even in the depth of winter.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

exploring the enneagram

Ones are conscientious and ethical, with a strong sense of right and wrong. They are teachers, crusaders, and advocates for change: always striving to improve things, but afraid of making a mistake. Well-organized, orderly, and fastidious, they try to maintain high standards, but can slip into being critical and perfectionistic. They typically have problems with resentment and impatience. At their Best: wise, discerning, realistic, and noble. Can be morally heroic.

Key Motivations: Want to be right, to strive higher and improve everything, to be consistent with their ideals, to justify themselves, to be beyond criticism so as not to be condemned by anyone.

We have named personality type One The Reformer because Ones have a “sense of mission” that leads them to want to improve the world in various ways, using whatever degree of influence they have. They strive to overcome adversity—particularly moral adversity—so that the human spirit can shine through and make a difference. They strive after “higher values,” even at the cost of great personal sacrifice.

History is full of Ones who have left comfortable lives to do something extraordinary because they felt that something higher was calling them.

Although Ones have a strong sense of purpose, they also typically feel that they have to justify their actions to themselves, and often to others as well. This orientation causes Ones to spend a lot of time thinking about the consequences of their actions, as well as about how to keep from acting contrary to their convictions. Because of this, Ones often persuade themselves that they are “head” types, rationalists who proceed only on logic and objective truth. But, the real picture is somewhat different: Ones are actually activists who are searching for an acceptable rationale for what they feel they must do. They are people of instinct and passion who use convictions and judgments to control and direct themselves and their actions.



What are you?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

farewell to twenty ten

There is no doubt that 2010 was the greatest year of my life thus far.

I experienced life in abundance- while strengthening relationships, taking risks, learning about what it means to be a follower of Christ, growing immensely as a teacher, exploring the world, and loving all of the fabulous people in my life.

Thank you to all of you who have helped make 2010 incredibly memorable and meaningful.

Some highlights...

  • Teaching! All of my different teaching experiences this year were amazing. I found out what it's really like to form close relationships with a particular group of students, and how significant building a community can be when it comes to teaching/learning. My students make me smile and laugh every day-- what a blessing.
  • South Africa. The most life and joy that could possibly be fit into six short weeks. From jumping off of bridges to baking pizza with our host family to giving and receiving love from my students to dancing the Sokkie... every moment was amazing.

  • Running- something I have never enjoyed or pursued until this year... A challenging new hobby that I somehow love and hate at the same time. I ran two 5k races and improved greatly!

  • Morris. You know how I feel about my beautiful home. So much love.

  • Graduation! With my brilliant roommate Coley.

  • A celebratory New Year's Eve spent with my best friends.

The year is now over, and a lot is changing. I'm sure that 2011 will have its fair share of sweetness, but for now I am content with rejoicing in the blessings of the past year. It's been one amazing ride.

Monday, December 27, 2010

more than just food

If you know me at all, you know that I love food. Especially avocados.

Though I am known to have quite a sweet tooth, my delight towards healthy, great tasting, mostly vegan food has been growing exponentially (math geek word- I thought you'd enjoy it). And with it, my passion for cooking and creating food has been sparked.

In Bittersweet (brilliant book!), Shauna Niequist says it best:
"From my vantage point, the idea that faith and meaning and all the other important things happen in your mind or soul where no one else can see them is one of the worst by-products of modern Christianity. We are, whether we choose to acknowledge it or not, physical beings. And physical isn't negative. If we didn't have bodies, we couldn't feel the sun on our faces or smell the earthy, mushroom-y rich smell of the ground right after rain. If we didn't have bodies, we couldn't wrap our arms around the people we love or taste a perfect tomato at the height of summer. I'm so thankful to live in this physical, messy, blood-and-guts world. I don't want to live in a world that's all dry ideas and theorems. Food is one of the ways we acknowledge our humanity, our appetites, our need for nourishment. And so it may seem trivial or peripheral to some people, but to me, when I'm telling a story, the part about what we ate really does matter."
So here are a few of my recent eats-- not all perfect, but all healthy and satisfying and so much fun to create and enjoy.

First, one of my go-to meals: brown rice, squash, black beans, and as many fresh toppings as I can gather up. Eat with a fork OR scoop up with El Matadors (my favorite method).

Next up-- an attempt at a gluten free version of Angela's Roasted Onion and Tomato Pesto Pizza. I will admit that I definitely didn't make it from scratch, but I did make it between the hours of 11:30pm and 1:30am after waitressing all night, if that counts for anything. :) It didn't turn out as fabulous as I'd hoped, but my roommate Britta graciously joined me in eating it (enjoying it? not so sure) during the wee hours of the morning. I'll have to try this one again sometime.

Another take on the classically delicious squash/rice combo: Roasted Butternut Squash (from the colddd farmer's market) stuffed with brown rice, kale, onions, and carrots. An interesting mix of sweet and savory, but fun and yummy nonetheless. Once again, this was eaten with Britta; we made an exchange: I'd cook her dinner if she edited my senior thesis. Worked out well, I must say!

...and then for Christmas, I received a beautiful new digital camera that takes gorgeous pictures. Right away I called one of my best food buddies and we cooked up a meal at lonely ol' Morris while documenting, of course. Much of the credit for these photos goes to Milly.

This was my first time cooking falafel (confession: it was out of a box)- and it turned out great! We devoured it with wheat pita bread, hummus, onions, tomatoes, mini sweet peppers, avocado, and a side of asparagus. And the final product:

We finished off our food adventure with a long and intense round of Bananagrams. Here's a shot of the WINNER!

Merry Christmas to you and yours. May you find nourishment of body, mind, and spirit in your food favorites and traditions this holiday season.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

goodbye, grand valley

This Christmas season has been BUSY. Between school events, graduation ceremonies and celebrations, substitute teaching, holiday parties, cooking delicious food, job interviews, and Red Robin (typical), I’ve hardly had a moment to relax and appreciate the fact that I am now a college GRADUATE!

I know everyone says this, but the past 3.5 years really have flown by… from my time as a dorky freshman in Nerdmeyer to my wonderful student teaching experience this past semester. it's been challenging and rewarding and frustrating and enlightening; full of new experiences and a whole lot of learning. For now, I am grateful for a long term sub position (kindergarten kiddos!) at the school I have been all semester, two rooms down from 'my' class, and that I will still be living with my closest college friends for a few more months of fun.

So even though the future is incredibly scary and unknown, I'm choosing to celebrate today. There is so much life abounding all around me, especially during this sacred and busy and JOYFUL season. I'm looking forward to some time to read, enjoy my family, exercise, cook, and learn about the God who I can trust with everything, including my future.

"However, as it is written:

What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has imagined
the things God has prepared for those who love him—"

Corinthians 2:9

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

the season of advent

this is quite possibly my favorite time of year: our lovely home has been festively decorated, christmas music plays regularly, and the holidays filled with family and friends (and no school!) linger up ahead. I have always loved and eagerly anticipated the Christmas season.

but for me this year, advent is somehow bursting with more energy and meaning than ever before. I am utterly mesmerized by the promises of advent, the hope and desire and the ways this season has opened and softened my heart. I'm learning so much about God: his goodness and his love, his ability to have a much better plan for us then we may have designed for ourselves, and his power to make all things new. this season is overflowing with potential for each one of us- this is our time to anticipate, tune in, be still and listen for God's presence now. and now. and now.

Frederik Beuchner says:
"The extraordinary thing that is about to happen is matched only by the extraordinary moment just before it happens. Advent is the name of that moment."

Thursday, November 25, 2010

gratitude abounding

My heart is full of thankfulness today. God has been revealing to me his sweetness and goodness lately in significant ways, and I simply can’t miss this moment to stop and say thank you.

Thank you for the joy of cooking and eating (especially today), and thanks that I can share this joy with my lovely mother.

Thank you for the ways in which my sistas and best friends encourage and listen and even laugh at my dumb jokes. Thanks that they have been such a constant, huge, safe, and wonderful part of my life for all of these years.

Thank you for my pets and for all the love and entertainment and companionship they bring to our household.

Thank you for my eighteen students, who lift my spirit and brighten my life every day. Thank you for their eagerness to learn and their sweet interactions.

Thank you for Morris—for all of the love and shalom that goes on in this place. Thank you for my roommates, for their honesty and caring and for the ways we support one another. and for all the other good, passionate people in my life. I am so blessed.

Thank you for my church, for providing me with a place where I can worship, listen, find community, and be comforted and made uncomfortable.

Thank you for my family…for our laughter and our love.

Thank you for HOPE, for bittersweet endings and new beginnings, for my future that is still very much unknown. Thank you for showing up in my life in fresh but familiar ways.

"Let us know the seeds of life's goodness within us and between us. And let us handle it's gifts with wonder." Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

(also, check out Milly’s blog…lots of good stuff going on there: